My name is Nanda. I am married to Hans, and
together we have four boys: Rutger, Stijn, Jochem, and Koen. We are
a Dutch family who left the Netherlands and moved to the U.S., and
later Ireland, to be able to unschool our children. We are currently
back in the Netherlands.
Our oldest son, Rutger, was born prematurely,
and we nearly lost him. There were medical complications, and it was
three months before we could bring him home.
Rutger has been called a "special
needs" child. We don't like to label anyone – all of our boys
are special. My heart told me that if we wanted to make Rutger
happy, we needed to focus on his strengths and love him
unconditionally. We found that not only is he loving and sensitive,
he is also intelligent. We helped him to follow his own interests,
and he enriched and deepened our lives in ways we never thought
possible. Most of all, he was a happy child.
When Rutger entered school at age five, all of
this changed. In just a few months, our
bright, confident son had turned into a scared and unhappy child. In
school, he couldn't pursue his own interests, and because he wasn't
challenged by what was going on in the classroom, he would escape
into his own inner world. The teachers responded to this by putting
more and more pressure on him – and on me. I spent many hours
talking with them, but it didn't help. It became clear to me that
they expected children to submit to the school system and sacrifice
their own interests, even if that would break their spirit.
I wished with all my heart that we could take
care of Rutger's education ourselves. Seeing my child suffer gave me
the courage to follow my heart and keep him home; unfortunately,
school attendance was mandatory in the Netherlands. We had no idea
what would happen next, when the solution came as if by magic – my
husband was offered a job in the U.S. On the Internet we learned
that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states.